Here is something I read on Facebook.
by Zach Whitsel
I’m out of town this weekend but I love Sundays and I love going to church! It hasn’t always been like that for me, though. There were years when church was a cruel environment. I had to work hard to stay on the right side of everyone’s rules and opinions because the alternative was to be outcast or left behind. When I got tired of having to earn “love” from religion, I spent the next couple of years letting every single Sunday remind me that people couldn’t be trusted and that churches weren’t safe. Those years were some of the toughest because they gripped my faith and rattled it every chance they got. But then the healing came. Forgiveness was given, bitterness went away, and new community was found. I’ve been back to loving church and Sundays for several years now! If today was a rough day for you because of many of the same reasons I shared, I have some steps I’d like to recommend.
1. Rest. God is not mad at you for seeing problems and asking questions or for walking away from abusive church situations. In fact, it’s what He wants you to do. Don’t lump God in with the crowd who hurt you. Find time to meet with Him on your own and figure out where He would have you go from here.
2. Figure out what is right, and then stick with it. There’s a good chance that you learned some good things and some toxic things from the church that hurt you. Don’t throw the good out with the bad. Search the word of God for answers and stick with the truth you find, and don’t be afraid to lay down all the weights and chains even if you face persecution for it. Faith is what pleases God, and if you were doing it to please people it didn’t mean anything to Him anyway.
3. Don’t ever look for a perfect church again. Most people are hurt by churches that were the “rightest” church around. Churches that have everything right are fake. There’s no such thing. Find a church where the people are real and leaning on Jesus for strength. They may not use your favorite version of the Bible or sing your favorite styles of music but you will still be safer there than you were surrounded by pretense. Real churches may not look as polished as where you came from but that’s ok, too. Be messy with them. We are all broken. Spend your life serving God with the Christians who give more than lip service to that truth.
4. Forgive the people who have hurt you. You’re battling disappointment right now but you are also battling bitterness. Disappointment is an emotion that time can heal. Bitterness, on the other hand, is an action you are taking that needs to be handled correctly and intentionally. Time doesn’t heal bitterness, it complicates it and handicaps you in the process. If you don’t pay any attention to anything else I say here believe me when I say you need to forgive the people who have hurt you. I have been wronged deeply by a lot of church people who have NEVER made it right but there is not a single one of those people that I wouldn’t enjoy eating supper with tonight if I had the opportunity. Why? Because when I forgave them they lost their power over me. Now I can just love them and pray for them.
Today might have been another bad Sunday for you but it doesn’t have to stay this way. I’m thankful for my church hurt journey; it made me a better person and taught me things I would have never learned elsewhere. You can be thankful for your journey one day, too! #JustKeepMovingForward